Descriptive Astronomy 101
The seventh planet from the Sun
Third largest of the gas giants
Diameter about four times that of Earth.
Just visible to the naked eye - not originally identified as a planet.
Axial Tilt = 97.9°
The planet effectively spins on its side.
For part of its orbit, one pole continually faces the Sun while the other is in total darkness. Half an orbit later, the roles (and poles) are reversed.
The plane containing its rings and moons is also tilted.
Solid, rocky core
Deep layer of ammonia and water icy slush
Outer layer of liquid hydrogen and helium
Odd Magnetic Field
Magnetic field is not centered on the center of the planet
Tilted 59° with respect to the axis of rotation.
It is probably generated by motion at relatively shallow depths within Uranus.
Magnetosphere is twisted by the planet's rotation into a long corkscrew shape behind the planet.
Composed of hydrogen (83%), helium (15%), methane (2%), and trace amounts of acetylene and other hydrocarbons.
Bluish color due to methane haze that absorbs strongly at red wavelengths.
Banded cloud patterns are extremely bland and faint.
Up to 18 distinct cloud bands have been identified
A faint system of 13 narrow, elliptical-shaped rings.
Composed of dark dust and rocks up to about 10 meters in diameter.
Found between 38,000 and 97,000 km.
Uranus: Other Facts
|Distance from Sun||19.2 AU|
|Distance from Sun||2,869 million km|
|Equatorial diameter||51,108 km|
|Mean density||1.3 g/cm3|
|Axial period||17.9 hours|
|Orbital period||84 years|
|Gravity at cloud-tops (Earth=1)||1.17|
|Escape velocity||22.5 km/s|